Thursday, December 07, 2006

Flea Market Deal Gone Bad

From the Modesto Bee:
A Salida couple is suing a group that offers real estate deals at a Ceres flea market, claiming that the company didn't deliver on promises to sell their home and get them a better one.
Marbella Salas said the trouble started when they met V.J. Singh, who said he was a representative for Prime Financial Group, in July 2004. Singh was set up at a card table at a weekend flea market near Whitmore Avenue in Ceres.

She said Singh's assistant approached them about refinancing their Salida home, which they'd bought in 1998. The couple's mortgage payment was $2,200 a month; they bring home about $6,600 per month from Marbella's position as an insurance specialist with AAA and Manuel's job as a department manager at WinCo Foods.

Singh followed up with phone calls saying he could help them sell or rent their home and buy a bigger one elsewhere, and only increase their mortgage payment by $200 a month, the couple said. After they agreed to buy another house in Salida in December 2005 for about $500,000, they learned that the new mortgage would be $4,200 a month.

They'd retained Singh to sell their old home, according to the lawsuit, and Salas said she thought the contract made their purchase of the second home contingent on selling the first one.

The lawsuit says Singh assured them that they could sell their first home for more than $400,000 in a short amount of time. Marbella Salas said Singh never delivered on promises to refinance the new loan for a lower payment, or to sell the first home, citing a cooled real estate market.

Paperwork submitted for the loan raised other questions. Salas said the loan documents indicated that she and her husband made $16,000 a month — without proof such as a pay stub or W-2 tax form.
Hat tip: M&M Going Quickly


drwende said...

No! The mortgage broker set up a card table at the Ceres Flea Market?!?

Admittedly, much of Stanislaus County's economy happens at flea markets or impromptu car lots on vacant lots... but shouldn't "mortgage broker at flea market" have been a warning sign?

The only step below this would be having one's crystal meth dealer offer low, low interest rates.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. buyers are to blame in this and only them to blame. Yet, they are trying to sue. lol good luck!

hausbroke said...

What's next, Squeegee kids offering refinancing and a clean windshield at major intersections?

If this kind of stupid wasn't so sad it would be very funny.

CarolK said...

I agree - buyers are to blame here so how can they sue???

CarolK said...

Forgot to say take a look at my real estate site

Anonymous said...
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paranoid renter said...

It's not fair to say that buyers are to blame. A lot of people don't read what they're signing and do things based on "good faith". If we had to read 3 pages of text for every transaction, we'd be in trouble!

When people deal with licensed professionals (brokers and realtors included!) they expect some level of ethics in their dealings. Granted when making decisions about big money as one is when dealing with housing, one needs to be extra cautious.

We'd have a pretty sorry state of affairs if we couldn't take anyone's word for it when doing business. My cell phone contract is 3 pages long and I haven't read it. Nor have I read my credit card agreements. I just assume that it's all standard stuff and just look at the main features (like fees and rebates) and I consider myself pretty nitpicky. Most of the time, if you don't know the right questions to ask, to take everything on good faith. Even the smartest people have been known to have been taken for a ride at some point or another.

The rule I go by is that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

I sympathize with the buyer.

drwende said...

But Paranoid, do you really think that licensed, trustworthy professionals set up tables at the Ceres flea market to flog their wares?

The location of the broker and the fact that he was making totally unrealistic promises should have been warning signs.

If the buyers had been cheated by a broker with a normal office and a reasonable pitch, I'd feel sorry for them... but these people were idiots who glommed onto an obvious scammer.

Gwynster said...

I agree with drwende but I'm also the abnomral person who reads all the fine print on credit offer i get - yes even the 15 page legal insert.

My mother raised me to trust no one - especially if money is involved. She was a young girl during the depression in Germany and lived through WW2 (she had me at age 42!). I was taught to live very cheaply at a young age.

Happy Second Saturday all-